Dog Training, Fly Fishing, & Sharing Christ in the 21st Century
Recently, I found a "new" book that my oldest son and my daughter-in-law gave me back in 2003. It was buried along with other mementos among the dozens of books I have that I have not yet read. But this one is interesting! It's about ministry in a form we don't commonly think about but which we all should be doing. It's about actually "enjoying" ministry in a way that doesn't pressure us to produce results, that doesn't ask us to conform to a schedule that doesn't fit our lifestyle, and a type of ministry that capitalizes on what we know in our lives, you know; the things we do for a living etc, that we really enjoy and that we have in common with other people. The name of the book is the title of this blog writing, and it was written by Ted Haggard.
Ted described several things he didn't especially care for that many churches want us to do. But the thing that captured my attention was the thing people like to do....spend time with friends! He described a naturally forming group of folk who had the same common love of doing certain things like fly fishing, training dogs, etc. When we get together with our friends, and when we can share a love of things we do mutually, we may minister to many who would otherwise never set foot inside a church building. But because they shared a love for bicycling, chemistry, tree climbing, birdwatching, or thousands of other interesting activities, they are able to build a bond with those who maybe never go to church over a period of weeks, months, or years.
Did you catch the "chemistry" I threw in there? Ted told a story of how an humble Mennonite family began coming to his church. They were embarrassed to go back to their own church because they had been sent out by the church to "plant" new churches. They had tried and failed three times. So they came to Ted Haggard, hat in hand to seek his advice. On the beginning, he had no idea of these people so he questioned them. "Do you have any education past high school?" "Yes, I have a BS degree in Chemistry from Grace College." "Do you have further education past the BA?" "Well, I have a Master's degree and PhD from University of Nebraska." I have been working these past few years at Los Alamos." In the ensuing conversation, Ted discovered the man had a circle of influence among scientist and cryogenics researchers. Ted then ask the man to gather some of his fellow scientists together on a regular basis to just hang out and discuss these common things they love. Before many years, this guy had assembled many small groups of people and had introduced them to Jesus through their developing friendship! Now that's a different way of doing it. But isn't that what Jesus did? He walked among common people and spoke with them in common terms- things they could relate to, things they could understand, and discipled them into serious Christians!
What an interesting concept!